About fifty people showed up to the public meeting concerning the development project on NW 64th St and 24th Ave NW, where 2 and 1/2 Happy Barbers and The Viking sit.
Community questions development, but little outrage
About 50 people showed up to the public meeting last night concerning the development on NW 64th St and 24th Ave NW, but few people spoke out against it.
The meeting, an Early Design Guidance review hosted by the Department of Planning and Development, started twenty minutes late and was held in a barely lit gymnasium at Ballard High School. Architect Megan McKay from Johnston Architects PLLC made a presentation on the project (Details can be found in BNT's last post on the project) and followed up with questions.
The development would be for a six-story, 90-unit apartment complex with two-three stories of below-grade car garage called "Ballard Lofts." One part of the project has already been permitted, so the meeting was only concerned with the second part, which consists of 60-units and where a single-family house, 2 and 1/2 Happy Barbers and The Viking Tavern currently sit.
The meeting did not turn into a hardlining Q&A about what will happen to The Viking tavern, as some may have predicted from looking at comments on My Ballard or signs posted around the neighborhood beckoning people to "Save The Viking." (Tim Cannon, owner of The Viking, said he had nothing to do with the signs.)
Only one attendee brought up questions about The Viking, asking the developers to incorporate the historic restaurant -- it has been around since 1950 -- into the new development. He also said that he is a supporter of growth and density, and wanted to see the two work hand-in-hand.
Rather, most concerned community members were in the immediate neighborhood, and brought up concerns over the size of the apartment complex and the possible ramifications of so many people moving into the area.
For Peg Walsh, who lives immediately east of the building, the project is personal. The six-story building would completely overshadow her house by late afternoon, as the sun sets to the west, according to a solar study presented by Johnston Architects.
"It's horrific for my house. I have a full on garden -- it won't live, basically," Walsh said. "I will be completely shadowed in peak of summer."
She said it would help at least a little bit if the developers considered a four-story complex instead.
Another community member, Christy, who has been involved in past meetings about the site's development, said that the complex would be an aberration in the city of Seattle.
"There's no place else in the city that we got such height bumping up right against single-family buildings."
Her and other community members had looked into this, she said, but could find nothing. She also said that the city government never helped or looked into it and essentially threw up "brick walls."
Other concerns included increased traffic, where cars would come in and out of the garage, sewage, trash pickup, noise from the building's HVAC, proximity of the building to the sidewalk, what businesses would go into the retail floor and neighborly aesthetics.
The design is still in it's early phases and many of the proper engineers have not been hired yet to hammer out all of the details. DPD officials said there will be more public meetings in the future with more information on these subjects. Until then, they would take the comments into consideration.